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Monthly Archives: March 2012

CutterLight

Creamy-smooth chocolate almond spread ready for toast, dolloping inside crêpes, or drizzling on pancakes or waffles. 

Being hundreds of miles from roads or specialty stores and becoming more curious about how foods we take for granted are actually created drives me to experiment. Today’s challenge? Nutella.

In high school, a German friend introduced me to this chocolate-hazelnut spread that looks a little like peanut butter. But sister, it’s not peanut butter! Nutella is sweet, creamy, and chocolately and is great spread on fruits and breads and a whole lot of other things, or scooped out of the jar and eaten off the spoon!

I found a recipe, but of course I modified it to fit the items in my pantry. Substituting almonds for hazelnuts, and armed with my new stick blender (with nut chopping attachment), I set to work. As I processed the nuts from a grain to coarse  flour…

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Posted by on March 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

I will never go vegetarian but…….

So here is the deal…..I am intrigued by vegetarians. I tell myself it is totally impossible when clearly I am wrong. You all exist, right?  Why couldnt I be a vegetarian? I eat meat every day but its almost always chicken. I don’t eat red meat often- maybe 3 times a month. I enjoy veggies as much as the next person. I could quit meat if I wanted to…..
I do not relate to any other reason for being vegetarian than just making a healthier choice.
As I look at my saddle bags and the area of my body that is no longer cut or muscular (Ummm all of my body) from playing sports and running, I realize I could stand to have some meals…..or days without meat.

I am on a hunt for delicious meat free main dishes . I have one picky eater and one moody eater. If you have any recipes for me to try please , please comment. And if you know of any vegetarian themed websites or blogs, please point me in the right direction.
Hope to hear from you soon.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Just a thought or two…

This whole Blog world is very new to me. I love writing and I love sharing my opinions and experiences, especially when it comes to playing around in the kitchen. I don’t know what the beginning was like for anyone else but I find myself going through dozens of blogs everyday looking for recipes to try, a new food to taste, or a herb or seasoning to track down in the grocery store. Who has time to write when you are finding so much to read?

Since I joined this “community”, I have tried my own versions of pop-tarts, homemade vanilla, creamy Popsicle, twice baked potatoes, and savory scones. All of these were recipes from your blogs, and all of these were delicious treats or useful additions that I have never tried before, so thank you!

I have learned to accept something I have known about myself for a long time. I don’t like to follow instructions. Even when I am assembling a toy or a piece of furniture, before I even finish the instructions, I am trying to figure out an easier way to do it-or I am deciding that I should have some one else put it together. Now, this is clearly not okay. I am fully aware that it is a flaw. But the cool thing is, I have a compromise when it comes to cooking. I don’t look for things to be easy when it comes to cooking because I enjoy the process. I just look for ways that I might like it better-or in some instances, I try to make it more suitable for my kids. But I share the original recipe so that people can do their own thing with it. That way no one has to read paragraph on top of paragraph on how to make…I don’t know….toast. You can have the blue print and I will share my changes after.

For some of you who have been cooking and blogging forever, this is probably a “duh” moment for you. But I really struggled with another funny fact. I hate to measure. When people ask me for recipes I have to search for one for them. Otherwise my instinct explain it to them in a way that frees them from strict instructions takes over. In written form these explanations/recipes look so long and aren’t easy to follow while your cooking. It really bothered me that I would email a novel on making mango chicken and had no idea what portion or amount to tell them to use.” I don’t know put as many mangos as you like in there……I really like coriander so yeah, I would say 3-4 table spoons.”  Once you have something down to your science it is what it is and I am okay with that. I look at recipes as a guideline now and I feel not an ounce of guilt.

Anyway, I am having fun so far with this little adventure. I probably sound like a very naive and green student but oh well.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Who needs Hamburger helper?

My daughter loves stroganoff. I am definitely going to try this for her.

Dangerously Daydreaming

Hot off the WP Dashboard, it’s another installment of Tasty Tuesday’s!  BF and I were in the mood for some comfort food to warm us up last week so I made up some yummy beef stroganoff.  Extra veggies and a little less sour cream puts this dish more on the healthy side.  I made whole wheat pasta for the family and some gluten-free for me.  Give in to the cozy tastiness!

What you need:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil (vegetable also works)
  • 2 lbs ground beef (I used organic, grass-fed and it was delish)
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • .5 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 6 crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1.5 c. beef broth
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning (equal parts basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, thyme)
  • pasta (your choice, I used gluten-free penne)

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Posted by on March 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Mango chicken curry

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I have friends and family who ask for my Mango Chicken Curry recipe all the time. I am such a creature of habit with tunnel vision, that it is hard for me to actually slow down and write out a recipe once it has been a staple in my life.
Mangos were decently priced this week so I figured I would grab some for the chicken and some for my monkey who can easily eat two before dinner is served-and still eat all of his meal.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients

1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 medium sweet red pepper or yellow, 2 tsp of canola oil, 1 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into strips, 1 tbs of curry powder, 2 tsp of ginger powder, 2 tsp of minced garlic, 1/8 tsp of cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1 1/2 cups of chopped, peeled mango, 3/4 cup coconut milk 2 tbs of tomato paste (optional) 1 cup of potatoes (optional) ,  4 servings of cooked rice

Steps

 In a skillet, saute onions and peppers 2-4 minutes. Add chicken, garlic, curry, salt, ginger, and cayenne. Stir in the mango, coconut milk and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Serve on top of rice

Once this is almost done cooking, I take half of the vegetables and mango and puree them so that my children don’t pick them out. I just pour it back over the chicken. I prefer to cook this slower than the recipe directs so that the seasonings and the chicken can get to know each other better. When it’s time to reduce the heat I take it down to low. Also I prefer it without the tomato paste and I love throwing in the diced potatoes. If you like it more spicy than sweet then try some red pepper flakes or a more spicy pepper. As you can see we just had some frozen mixed veggies with it. I passed on my technique to eating veggies from my childhood.  My oldest just mixed her veggies into her entree and the flavors in the sauce helped her bare the horrible peas and carrots on her plate.

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Can not wait to try this. I don’t buy those often for my kids either.

Home Baked

I think my children could eat their weight in Cheez-Its or goldfish crackers if given the opportunity. I don’t buy either one regularly (unless there’s a good sale and I have a coupon!), but that means I’m often scrambling to find something to pack in their lunches or dole out as an afternoon snack. I’ve been meaning to try this recipe for a long time, but I knew anything involving a cookie cutter–especially a teeny tiny fish-shaped one–was going to be filed under Too Fussy in my book. Finally it occurred to me that I could just cut the crackers into squares. I know! What a revelation! I happen to have a fluted pastry wheel, so that made the edges decorative, but a pizza cutter or a knife would work just as well. These took about 15 minutes of prep, with another 15 minutes for chilling and 15 minutes for…

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Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Homemade banana pudding

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My favorite app on my phone is my All recipes app. I have added so many recipes to my favorites that I cannot keep up. I would like to stop adding and start trying each recipe.  But I can’t stop adding recipes! Last night I used a recipe from this app.

Of all of my adventures I have never been more excited and satisfied as I was when I made my own pudding. Yeah….I said it.  Pudding. Not an Indian influenced entre’ or a gourmet 4 course meal. Just pudding from scratch.

Here is the recipe. I added a twist or two to make it my own.

Ingredients
2/3 cup of granulated sugar
1/3 cup of Flour
3 eggs
2 cups of milk
Tsp salt
2 tablespoons butter softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 bananas peeled and sliced
1/2 pack of Nillas® don’t try any other brand because they just won’t taste as good!
2/3 cup of pecans

This is the basic recipe. I have a lactose intolerant child so I use almond milk regularly. I cut the sugar down to 1/4 a cup and used Vanilla almond milk instead of regular milk. I also left out the vanilla extract.

Steps
1. In a medium sauce pan combine sugar, flour and salt. Add eggs and stir well. Stir in milk and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture begins to thicken remove from heat and continue to stir, cooling slightly. Stir in vanilla and butter until smooth.

2. The recipe calls for a 9 X 13 inch dish but I prefer a square deeper dish for more layers of Nillas on top of Nillas on top of Nillas…..So just layer the pudding with sliced bananas and Nillas. Chill for 2 hours or over night in the refrigerator.

Once it’s ready to serve, take 1 cup of chopped pecans and 5-7 Nillas and put them in a food processor. If you like a more coarse texture on top then just put the wafers in a plastic bag and smash them up and mix them with your chopped pecans. You can sprinkle them over the whole dish or over individual servings.

If I never learn to make anything else again, I will be ok. This was so comforting. It tastes better if you just eat it out of the pan. But if you put it in a bowl or mug, top it with some whipped cream and some sliced strawberries and enjoy!

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2012 in Uncategorized